June 7, 2024 at 8:32 p.m.

Mrs. P’s passion

Prescott’s new bakery and candy shop in Portland is decorated with mementos from former students
Jane Prescott, pictured above, and Steve Prescott opened Mrs. P’s Kitchen on March 9. The business offers baked goods, fudge, candy and other treats. Mrs. P’s Kitchen also provides catering services. (The Commercial Review/Bailey Cline)
Jane Prescott, pictured above, and Steve Prescott opened Mrs. P’s Kitchen on March 9. The business offers baked goods, fudge, candy and other treats. Mrs. P’s Kitchen also provides catering services. (The Commercial Review/Bailey Cline)

Jane Prescott has been a teacher by day and baker by night.

Known by her students as “Mrs. P,” she decided the name of her newly established shop should reflect both her passions.

Jane Prescott and her husband, Steve, opened Mrs. P’s Kitchen on March 9.

It’s in the shop formerly occupied by Sharlette’s Fudgery and Candies at 112 S. Meridian St., Portland.

Keeping with the fudge and candy business, Mrs. P’s Kitchen offers eight to 10 flavors of fudge at any given time and a wide variety of bagged chocolates. Mrs. P’s Kitchen creates bakery goods, serving everything from cookies and cupcakes to cinnamon rolls and doughnuts, as well as other treats. The business also offers catering services.

During the school year, Jane Prescott spent her mornings teaching first graders at East Elementary and her evenings at the shop. 

“Teacher by day, baker by night,” said Prescott, who previously taught at Redkey Elementary School.

Various mementos from former students over the years have trickled their way into her store — they include a “Joe Cool” Peanuts Snoopy figure near the register and a wooden pencil sign with her name written on it in the front window. 

Baking is a stress-reliever for Prescott, who thrives on multitasking. She has been professionally baking for about a decade, starting with selling baked goods at farmers markets with her youngest son, Hunter. “Cookies for College,” as they called their stand, went toward Hunter’s college expenses about seven or eight years ago.

She also worked with Bearcreek Farms for more than 20 years as an adult. Her service to the business dates back into her youth.

“I bussed my first table at, I don’t know, maybe 10,” she recalled.

Former store owners Sharlette and Ron Cole passed the keys over to the Prescotts on March 1. They had served treats to the community from the space along Meridian Street near the Community Resource Center for two decades.

A Bluffton native, Jane Prescott has lived in Portland for about 35 years. Something had always drawn her to the corner where Sharlette’s Fudgery and Candies stood. 

She knew Sharlette Cole, having purchased items from time to time at the fudgery. When she learned the Coles had been considering selling their business, the wheels started turning.

“(Steve and I) did a lot of soul searching, and we decided it could be something that we could do together as we get older,” she said.

Given her background, Jane Prescott’s focus for the shop has shifted to offering more types of baked goods alongside the fudge and candy goodies.

“That’s really my first love,” she said.

Other items in stock at her store include jams, jellies, mustards, sauces, pretzels and granola, drink, dip and cheeseball mixes. She mentioned plans Friday to start selling pickles, noodles and glass bottled sodas next week and hopes to begin offering to-go breakfast and lunch meals this summer. Prescott wants to keep a rotating stock of different items.

“I like to keep it fresh and new,” she said. “I think that’s important.”

She’s also been catering meals and treats for events, including dinner for the Jay County Community Awards on May 11 and various graduation parties this week.

Now that school is out for the summer, the store’s hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays. If folks notice the lights are on and decide to stop by, she added, just knock.

With Prescott taking over the business, Sharlette Cole planned to spend her newly found free time gardening and traveling. She hoped to visit her son, daughter-in-law and grandson in Syracuse more often.

Prescott took her turn as the student Feb. 29 when she and Cole made a batch of fudge together during Cole’s last day at the shop. Cole spoke confidently about the decision to pass the baton to Prescott.

“I couldn’t ask for a better person to have come in here,” said Cole. “She’s just as particular as I am, and she makes things look really great. She’s creative, you know, she’s already got the background for baking her cupcakes and catering and everything. She’s the perfect one that I can walk away and know all my customers and corporate orders will be taken care of.”

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